MAIG’s Endorsement of Thuggish Law Enforcement Behavior

I’m particularly incensed by MAIG’s suggestion that we rescind many of the changes made after the Richmond Gun Show Incident. For those who didn’t follow the link in the MAIG Blueprint post, let me summarize for you what happened at Richmond. ATF agents basically conducted a dragnet, invading people’s privacy with no regards for whether they were innocent or guilty, and accusing them, in more than a few cases, of federal crimes.

  • Went to people’s addresses and asked questions of neighbors, family members, about gun purchases, and asking them what they were doing at the gun show.
  • Stopped several people with no probable cause, in some cases seized their weapons, and handed them a form indicating they were suspected of committing federal crimes. BATF claimed the letter was meaningless, but only a fool wouldn’t hire a lawyer after getting a letter like that.
  • Unlawfully pulled 4473s from dealers without a connection to a specific criminal investigation.
  • Detained several people for questioning who were legitimately selling firearms privately.

I don’t think too many of us would object if ATF conducted professional, undercover investigations looking for criminal activity at gun shows. It is possible to build a case against someone for dealing without a license, without ensnaring the innocent as well as the guilty.

To the extent that the Congressional backlash from Richmond has spooked the ATF from investigating gun shows, the proper remedy is to encourage professionalism in their investigative techniques. The remedy is not to huff and puff about the big-bad gun lobby, and tell ATF the solution is to go back out and act like thugs again. Gun owners aren’t going to tolerate thuggish behavior that targets the guilty and the innocent equally. We will tolerate professional, legal and courteous law enforcement presence. Maybe if MAIG were more interested in promoting the latter rather than the former, we’d be more willing to listen.

2 thoughts on “MAIG’s Endorsement of Thuggish Law Enforcement Behavior”

  1. My thoughts exactly. From what I remember from the RKBA chatter at the time, basically every non-white show attendee got that treatment.

  2. If the NRA report is accurate I am surprised lawsuits weren’t filed for harassment.

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